Chicago’s O’hare Airport has an enormous, vertical, indoor organic garden that supplies its patrons with 44 different varieties of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Now the Indianapolis International Airport (IIA) has solidified its status as the nation’s largest airport-based solar farm. What if we got these two together?
Like a marriage of chocolate and peanut butter, you couldn’t go wrong with massive solar capacity and organic, and hydroponic gardening techniques. Airports could not only get their passengers to Rome or Belize on time, but send them there with sustainably-grown, nutrient-rich food in their bellies.
There are now 86 acres of solar panels installed at the IIA, and smaller solar farms scattered throughout the country have great success not only creating healthy food, but also changing the micro-climate, and reducing overall energy costs which are not related to growing food – like air-conditioning, heating, and running electronic devices.
The IIA’s solar farm is now a whopping 151 acres with a total of 76,000 solar photovoltaic panels that turn sunlight into electricity and feed that power into the local electrical grid. This grid is capable of generating 31.7 million kilowatt hours of power, or enough to power 3,200 average U.S. homes – or a whole lot of organic produce!
The nation’s second-largest airport-based solar farm is at Denver International Airport.
With all the financial woes of the airline industry over the past years, maybe it is time for them to turn some of their sprawling real-estate into solar-powered food gardens.
According to a spokesperson from the IIA:
“The airport’s intention was never to have the largest airport-based solar farm ? it just so happens that it happened, because the airport had so much unused land.”
The solar farm is owned and operated by Taiwan-based General Energy Solutions, and it is still growing. A small addition to the solar farm will be added next year.